Friday, June 17, 2005
Fiberglass Suicide Science
Something unusual happened last week. In a field fifteen miles east of Muncie, Indiana, farmer Ralph Bosworth's wheat crops took some damage. Nobody saw the offending thrasher, but many are whispering about the possibility of aliens.
In recent decades, patterns and symbols have been found imprinted upon crops around the world: circles, arrows, trapezoids, hollow octagons, radiation symbols, Nike logos, and Konami cheat codes. All manner of bizarre geometry have been photographed during rural flyovers by mystified helicopter passengers.
According to these recent reports, the Muncie marks conform to no obvious pattern. No symbols, messages, directions, or ciphers lurk within comprehension. The markings are simply an ugly mess, random spastic contortions of suicidal wheat clusters.
Mr. Bosworth was quoted in the Sun-Times article: "I reckon nothing but wind done that. An' stay the hell off m'property."
I'm really good at this sort of thing. I think. So I did what any normal interpreter of alien behavior, what any normal investigator of magical earth mysteries, what any upstanding citizen with a noble interest in educating the populace, what, well, anybody would have done. I went to Muncie.
I arrived on Monday night with a flashlight and a box of fruit roll-ups. I parked on a dry barren dirt patch about two miles from Bosworth's farm and hiked my way back to his wheatfields, taking special care to watch the skies for flickers, glows, and flashes.
I wandered deep into the field, parting wheat as I went. The crop wasn't tall enough to obscure my six foot height, and I wondered why aliens would choose such a field. There's assloads of cornfields nearby, and they're taller. Therefore they're a lot better for scaring and chasing dumb humans. Like me. In the wheat I could see any imminent threat long before it reached me. I could see the farmhouse, the barn, and a tractor off in the distance. No obstructions.
I wandered around until I found the molested wheat. The eyewitness accounts were right. No circles, no squares. Just chaos. The area looked like a dozen fat kids with epilepsy had eaten a cake there. I looked for evidence. Crumbs. Frosting. Sprinkles. All I found were a few shards of gold painted fiberglass. No alien metals, no glowing ethers, no interstellar mucus. Damn.
Fiberglass is man-made. Something happened here. But what?
I pondered the mystery for hours, chewing my fruit roll-ups and clicking morse code into the sky with my flashlight. Instead of hauling myself to my feet and trudging back to my car to begin my voyage home, I decided to take a short nap. A little refreshment would make my return trip less grueling.
I awoke to the echo of massive drums. Towering black silhouettes swayed above me, obscuring the moonlight. I jumped and sprinted away. As the sound receded, I realized the flurry of gargantuan golems had not followed me. I must be safe. My journalistic instinct took over and I turned to face the weird spectacle.
From here the moonlight exposed the source of the booming noises. Seven giants swung in and out of a loose huddle. They were twenty feet tall and stiff, their arms held outstretched, their faces frozen, maniacal and grinning. The charged each other like football players attempting to tackle. On stiff legs they hobbled, clumsy and sad, bouncing off one another. They were Muffler Men, old fiberglass statues made for a long dead chain of auto repair shops. They'd been sold and resold and redecorated, condemned to stand upright promoting dirty little stores and roadside attractions in the lonely places of America. Now they were scattered across the country painted as vikings, cowboys, sailors, and lumberjacks. One day they had awoken, perhaps by divine intervention, perhaps by galactic subversion, perhaps by lightning, perhaps by freak occurance. Somehow, they found each other. Telepathy, magnetism, awareness, and apparently, mild retardation.
I watched for an hour as they banged into each other, knocking fragments of loose fiberglass and chips of ancient paint from their decaying frames. When they finally stopped, they stood motionless in a circle for three minutes. After that, they bounced away in separate directions, each to his lonely far flung perch.
Was it a mating ritual? Were these sad statues trying to spread seed, to reproduce, to imitate the hedonistic fucking of the mammals that nested within their hollow bodies? Were they communicating in a secret language, a violent morse code of collision and crumbles? Were they performing a funeral ritual, mourning the decay of one of their demolished compatriots?
My opinion is slow suicide. I think they're trying to die, and that's the fastest thing they could imagine. They'll keep cracking until the last shard disintegrates, when they can go back to the sleepy nothingless whence they came.
Chicago Sun-Times Article: 5/17/05: Crop Circles In Muncie, IN
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